Time Warp Wednesday: Trying to Have the Conversation

Reblog of a post I wrote in 2008. The more things change, the more they stay the same. This post also generated a Part II and Part III

Trying to Have the Conversation

In the light of the David Schuster incident, I had hope that men and women of good will would be able, finally, to sit down and have an open conversation about the enduring and deeply internalized sexism within our society.

What has been particularly frustrating for me, is that when I try to have any kind of discussion with men about sexism in our culture, I honestly feel like I’m speaking a foreign language to them. No matter how I try to get them to try to understand where I am coming from, what my life experience has been, most men, if not all, just don’t get it. Worse, they don’t appear to want to understand. And I am speaking of men who are my friends and closer, solid progressives all.

A defensive wall goes up and I cannot seem to get them to at least acknowledge that my experience and point of view may be valid, or that I may have some legitimate concerns, or to admit that though they may not understand, they are willing to at least listen. Alas, no, because if I even bring it up, somehow I get the feeling that they think I am holding them personally responsible for the misogyny I see, and that I expect them to “fix” it. I hold neither position, but gawd-amighty, I sure would like to be able to at least have the conversation without being told that (a) I’m being too sensitive (b) I’m taking it too personally (c) I’m seeing things that aren’t there.

On a related note, Nicholas Kristof looks at the challenges faced by ambitious women running for, or holding, political office in our democratic age.

When Women Rule (NYT)

In one common experiment, the “Goldberg paradigm,” people are asked to evaluate a particular article or speech, supposedly by a man. Others are asked to evaluate the identical presentation, but from a woman. Typically, in countries all over the world, the very same words are rated higher coming from a man.

In particular, one lesson from this research is that promoting their own successes is a helpful strategy for ambitious men. But experiments have demonstrated that when women highlight their accomplishments, that’s a turn-off. And women seem even more offended by self-promoting females than men are.

This creates a huge challenge for ambitious women in politics or business: If they’re self-effacing, people find them unimpressive, but if they talk up their accomplishments, they come across as pushy braggarts.

The broader conundrum is that for women, but not for men, there is a tradeoff in qualities associated with top leadership. A woman can be perceived as competent or as likable, but not both.


I am grateful every day that I have people in my life who love me, put up with me, laugh with me, cry with me, who get my jokes and appreciate my passion.

I am grateful every day, despite the heartache that has come before, and will come again, that I have a heart capable of limitless love.

I am grateful every day for my daughter. She is the light of my life and has grown into an amazing woman. And I am grateful for the man who loves her and shares himself with her.

I am grateful every day for my husband, whose love for me and whose faithfulness to the life we have together is beyond anything I could have hoped for.

I am grateful every day that we share our home with two cats and two dogs who wait for us to come home, who pester us to feed them, who take up too much space on the bed, who trip us in the hallway and who are only with us for a time, but give us love every day.

I am grateful every day that I have a well-paying job, food in the cupboards, and that I live in a house I adore with neighbors who are simply the best.

I am grateful every day for my political junkie friends. You complete me.

I am grateful every day for long-time friends. You all still like me, and I am humbled by the love you have continued to give me through all of it.

I am grateful every day for my new friends. I hope you all realize what you’ve gotten yourselves into.

I am grateful everyday that I said yes to photography.

I am grateful for crowded stores, holiday music, and pumpkin spice lattes.

But most of all . . .

I am grateful every day that I did not yield to the gray so many years ago.

I am grateful every day that I stayed.



On Women’s Equality Day, 2015

HMZ (8)My grandmother was nineteen years old on August 26, 1920 when the 19th Amendment, giving all U.S. women the right to vote, was added to the United States Constitution.  It had been 144 years since Abigail Adams in 1776 had asked her husband, John, to “remember the ladies” in the laws of our fledgling country, and 72 years since the Seneca Falls’ Declaration of Sentiments demanded that all women “have immediate admission to all the rights and privileges which belong to them as citizens of the United States.”  The fight was long and the victory hard won.  Women on the forefront of this movement suffered public ridicule, physical violence, and jail time.

Ninety-five years later many doors have opened to women, but there is still much to be done. Many women still earn less than men for doing the same job, with the gap widest for women of color.  We still need the Paycheck Fairness Act to become law which gives women the legal tools they need to fight workplace discrimination. We are still the only developed country without paid leave of any kind, and when 2/3 of minimum wage workers are women, many of them single parents struggling to provide for their families, we need to give them a raise.

I am not ashamed to admit that my dream is to stand on the National Mall, with my mother and my daughter, to witness Hillary Clinton sworn in as President of the United States.   For when she takes the oath of office, not only will we be ending the 44-0 shutout at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, we will have a champion in residence who has spent her lifetime fighting for the rights of women and families.

It’s time.


Cross-Post: How I Spent My Sunday

Cross-posted from The Neophyte Photographer (Originally posted on Monday, March 18, 2013)

Long-time followers know that I photographed the first ever Medical Outreach Response Event (MORE) last year as my final project for my lighting class.   They held the event again this past weekend and I volunteered to shoot the event. They already had a photographer for Saturday so I showed up yesterday.  Sunday wasn’t as busy as Saturday, but there was still plenty of need.   There are no medical services to speak of in our town. Many of these people are working poor, or disabled, and there are so many hurdles for them to jump over and so many cracks for them to fall through, that the problem feels insurmountable.

Here are just a few shots.

Attendees starting the process at intake.  The clients were screened here and directed to the various areas, depending on their need.

They might need dental work, vision care, help with obtaining affordable insurance or low-cost prescription assistance.  Or all of the above. There was also an immunization clinic to get people up-to-date on their shots, mental health screening, three dental vans, and the Mammovan was there to provide breast cancer screening.

 People shouldn’t have to get their health care in the middle of a high school gymnasium or get their teeth fixed in the parking lot. My country has its priorities all screwed up.

They shouldn’t have to wonder if there is something . . .  anything . . .  they can afford.

A young boy attempts to read the eye chart as the Lions Club volunteer looks on.

Immunization clinic.

She’s a bit nervous.

But she came through with flying colors.

More to come.